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Our Favorite Signature Recipes

Each year, home cooks pass down their cherished family recipes to us. Here are some of our favorite signature recipes, from their home to yours.

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Sandy's Chocolate Cake

Years ago, I drove 4-1/2 hours to a cake contest, holding my entry on my lap the whole way. But it paid off. One bite and you'll see why this velvety beauty was named the best chocolate cake recipe and won first prize. —Sandra Johnson, Tioga, Pennsylvania
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Big John's Chili-Rubbed Ribs

When my family thinks of summer grilling, it's ribs all the way. Our Asian-inspired recipe is a welcome change from the usual barbecue-sauce versions. —Ginger Sullivan, Cutler Bay, Florida
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Barbara's Italian Wedding Soup

In a little Italian restaurant in Santa Cruz, my husband and I had an amazing soup with orzo. I tweaked it at home to make it healthier but kept the warm, comforting flavor. —Barbara Spitzer, Lodi, California
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Aunt Edith's Baked Pancake

My aunt made a mighty breakfast that revolved around 'The Big Pancake'. I always enjoyed watching as she poured the batter into her huge iron skillet, then created the perfect confection: baked pancakes. —Marion Kirst, Troy, Michigan
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Beth Howard's Apple Pie

When forced to choose my favorite pie, I go with classic apple. I love the combination of a buttery crust, apples, sugar and cinnamon.—Beth Howard, Eldon, Iowa
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Tara's Spanish Chicken

This recipe has simple flavors that take me back to Grandma's house. She knew a million ways to cook a chicken, but this was my favorite. —Tara Imig, Fort Worth, Texas
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Wendy's Apple Pomegranate Salad

My grandparents grew pomegranates, pecans and walnuts and would send us some each year. Some of my best memories are the days I used to spend with my grandmother learning how to cook with her. Whenever I make this, it's like having lunch with my grandmother again. —Wendy Ball, Battle Creek, Michigan
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Mamaw Emily's Strawberry Cake

My husband loved his mamaw's strawberry cake recipe. He thought no one could duplicate it. I made it, and it’s just as scrumptious as he remembers. —Jennifer Bruce, Manitou, Kentucky
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Priscilla's Vegetable Chowder

This is the perfect soup to warm up with on a cold fall or winter day. Serve it in a bread bowl to make it extra special. —Rhodes Bake-N-Serv, Jenna Jackson, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Kate Smith Coffee Cake

When I lived in an orphanage more than 50 years ago, I helped out in the kitchen, often making this wonderful coffee cake and dutifully following the recipe the cooks used. Years later, seeing Kate Smith on television, I realized that I had been making one of the singer's own favorite recipes from her cookbook! —Ruth Nast, Waterford, Connecticut
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Eddie's Favorite Fiesta Corn

When sweet corn is available, I love making this splurge of a side dish. Frozen corn works, but taste as you go and add sugar if needed. —Anthony Bolton, Bellevue, Nebraska
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Aunt Rose's Fantastic Butter Toffee

I don't live in the country, but I love everything about it—especially good old-fashioned home cooking! Every year, you'll find me at our county fair, entering a different contest. This easy toffee recipe is a family favorite. —Kathy Dorman, Snover, Michigan
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Lauren's Bouillabaisse

This golden-colored soup is brimming with an assortment of seafood and is paired with savory, colorful sourdough toast with spread.— Lauren Covas, New Brunswick, New Jersey
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Dan's Peppery London Broil

I was bored making our usual London broil, so I got a little creative and sparked up the flavor. What a great change! —Dan Wright, San Jose, California
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Evelyn's Sour Cream Twists

Evelyn is my mother-in-law, who always keeps some of these terrific flaky twists in her freezer to serve in a pinch. They go quickly around our house— especially during the holidays. —Linda Welch, North Platte, Nebraska
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Aunt Ione's Icebox Cookies

Whenever we went to visit my Aunt Ione in south Georgia, her icebox cookies were our favorite treat. My mother later make these cookies, and I remember begging for a slice of the raw dough—I thought the unbaked cookies tasted just as great as the baked! —Jenny Hill, Meridianville, Alabama
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Granny's Rhubarb Pie

This recipe originated with my grandmother, who baked many different rhubarb desserts. This was always a favorite of mine. —Blanche Baninski, Minto, North Dakota
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Lance's Own French Toast

When my son, Lance, helps me make this French toast, he knows what order to add the ingredients and even how much to measure out. It’s great for the whole family! —Janna Steele, Magee, Mississippi
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Sandy's Slow-Cooked Chili

I like to use my homemade stewed tomatoes and pizza sauce in this recipe. It's the perfect chili—not too spicy. It's a cinch to whip up. —Sandy McKenzie, Braham, Minnesota
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Dar's Coconut Cream Pie

When I whip up a toasted coconut cream pie, my family goes wild and the pie vanishes. —Darlene Bartos, Shoreview, Minnesota
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Aunt Margaret's Sweet Potato Casserole

My great-aunt made an incredible sweet potato casserole for our holiday dinners. I’ve lightened it up a bit, but we love it just the same. —Beth Britton, Fairlawn, Ohio
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Mimi's Lentil Medley

I made this one summer evening by putting together what I had on hand. My husband gave it his top rating. —Mary Ann Hazen, Rochester Hills, Michigan
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Winnie's Mini Rhubarb & Strawberry Pies

Every spring, we had strawberries and rhubarb on our farm outside Seattle. These fruity hand pies remind me of those times and of Grandma Winnie’s baking. —Shawn Carleton, San Diego, California
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Mom's Fried Apples

Mom often made these fried apples for me while I was growing up. The recipe is very dear to me. —Margie Tappe, Prague, Oklahoma
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Pat's King of Steaks Philly Cheesesteak

This ultimate Philly cheesesteak recipe is a best-seller at Pat's King of Steaks Restaurant. Patrons praise its thinly cut beef and crusty Italian rolls. —Frank Olivieri, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Toni's Tropical Biscotti

My second mom had a hankering for biscotti with pistachios and dried papaya. Since she's a fabulous cook, I gave it a whirl. The result was sensational!—Bonnie Hauschild, Wellington, Florida
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Lisa's All-Day Sugar & Salt Pork Roast

My family loves this tender and juicy roast, so we eat it a lot. The salty crust is so delicious mixed into the pulled pork. —Lisa Allen, Joppa, Alabama
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Grandma Pietz's Cranberry Cake Pudding

For generations, our family has handed down this cake recipe starring cranberries. Simple and unusual, it remains a treasured family heirloom. —Lisa Potter, Camp Douglas, Wisconsin
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Grandma Schwartz's Rouladen

This was one of my Grandma Schwartz's recipes. Grandpa Schwartz was a German butcher and this was one of his (and our) favorite meals. It's an extra-special beef entree when served with mashed potatoes made with butter and sour cream. —Lynda Sharai, Summer Lake, Oregon
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Warren's Oatmeal Jam Squares

At 102, I still love to bake. I make these bars in my toaster oven for my fellow residents at our assisted living home. —Warren Patrick, Townshend, Vermont
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Matt's Jerk Chicken

Get ready for a trip to the Islands. You may think jerk chicken is complicated but, really, all it takes is time. Throw on some tunes, grab an icy drink and prepare to be transported. Have a smoker? You can smoke the chicken first and finish it on the grill. —Jenn Hall, Collingswood, New Jersey
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Aunt Betty's Blueberry Muffins

My Aunt Betty is quite a baker, but I look forward to these mouthwatering blueberry muffin recipe the most. She gives me enough so that I can freeze and enjoy them for weeks. —Sheila Raleigh, Kechi, Kansas
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Aunt Marion's Fruit Salad Dessert

Aunt Marion's Fruit Salad Dessert

Aunt Marion, my namesake, is like a grandma to me. She gave me this luscious salad recipe, which goes to all our family reunions, hunt club suppers and snowmobile club picnics...and I go home with no leftovers! —Marion LaTourette, Honesdale, Pennsylvania
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Bart's Black Bean Soup

This soup is ready in minutes. We enjoy it with Herbed Dinner Rolls. Add a salad for a complete meal that's really tasty! —Sharon Ullyot, London, Ontario
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Aunt Murna's Jam Cake

I remember Aunt Murna telling me that she created her jam cake recipe as a young girl. She made improvements over the years, such as soaking the raisins in crushed pineapple. This cake is a favorite at our annual family reunions. —Mrs. Eddie Robinson, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
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Stacey's Famous BBQ Chicken

This chicken is topped with a sticky, finger-lickin’ sauce that everyone—including my kids—loves. I make it in big batches now and give jars of it to family and friends. —Stacey Nerness, Spencer, Iowa
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Tina's Pot Roast

This tender pot roast is a hearty, "feel good" meal. It's also kid-friendly. Even picky eaters usually gobble it up. The last time I made this for my family, the gravy was so tasty that we poured it over the entire meal—meat, carrots, and potatoes! —Tina Meyer, Lake Orion, Michigan
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Iva's Peach Cobbler

My mother received this peach cobbler recipe from a friend of hers many years ago, and fortunately she shared it with me. Boise is situated right between two large fruit-producing areas in our state, so peaches are plentiful in the summer. —Ruby Ewart, Boise, Idaho
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Bill's Apple Butter

Since retiring, I have more time to tend to our 75 apple trees and to experiment in the kitchen. I came up with this old-fashioned apple butter after some trial and error. The red-hot candies make it unique.—Bill Elliott, Urbana, Missouri
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Billie's Southern Sweet Potato Cake

I made sweet potato cakes for my kids when they were younger and they told me in their little voices, "Mommy, you're the best baker." Little did they know that was Mommy's first attempt at homemade cake! —Billie Williams-Henderson, Bowie, Maryland
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Connie's Tortellini Salad

Toss satisfying cheese tortellini and mozzarella with refreshing veggies for a substantial potluck salad. Sometimes I keep a bowl of this in the fridge for family members to dig into when they need something fast. — Connie Eaton, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Annie's Original Salsa

I spent 5 years working on this recipe. Everyone loves it, and it's one of the few recipes that is actually mine, not inherited from someone else! It's been so popular that a friend canned 4 ounce jars and gave them as wedding favors. My oldest daughter asked me to do the same thing, and so we gifted wedding guests with 300 small jars of salsa at her autumn-themed wedding. —Angela Barnes, Big Rapids, Michigan
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Stephanie’s Slow-Cooker Stew

Start this warming one-pot meal before you head out for the day. By the time you get home, the well-seasoned meat will be tender and mouthwatering. —Stephanie Rabbitt-Schappacher, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Nena's Papas Rellenas

A Cuban classic, these satisfying, crispy-coated potato balls are filled with a savory ground beef mixture known as picadillo. —Nena Linares, Los Angeles, California
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Kathy's Herbed Corn

My husband and I agreed that the original recipe for this corn needed a little jazzing up, so I added the thyme and cayenne pepper to suit our tastes. Now fresh summer corn makes a regular appearance on our grill. —Kathy VonKorff, North College Hill, Ohio
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Aunt Myrtle's Coconut Oat Cookies

These oatmeal coconut cookies are the stuff of happy memories. They have such a rich flavor and texture. Store them in your best cookie jar. —Catherine Cassidy, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Judy's Macaroni Salad

After finding this vintage macaroni salad recipe years ago, I tweaked the flavor and bumped up the pickles. Tuck this dill pickle pasta salad inside your picnic basket. —Elizabeth Kirchgatter, Maysville, Kentucky
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Brenda's Baked Beans

When I was a kid, my mom made baked beans all the time. Sometimes we'd turn this side into a main dish by adding sliced hot dogs. —Brenda Brooks, Bowie, Maryland
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Aunt Lou's Fresh Apple Cake

My Great-Aunt Lou made a luscious fresh apple cake recipe that became a family tradition. My mom makes it for our annual beach trip to the Outer Banks. —Cristy King, Scott Depot, West Virginia
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Isaiah's Pumpkin Muffins with Crumble Topping

These tender muffins have a subtle pumpkin flavor and sugary topping that make them special. Fabulous warm, they make a quick gluten-free breakfast your whole family can love. —Silvana Nardone, New York, New York

Christina Herbst
Christina is an Assistant Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in food and home decor content creation and SEO optimization. She enjoys trying out local restaurants and coffeehouses and adding copious amounts of garlic and cheese to any recipe she can get her hands on. In her free time, you can find her hunting down one-of-a-kind furniture pieces at thrift and vintage stores and DIYing trendy home decor crafts.

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